Cross-border selling: UK government offers export support service


Are you unsure about the customs process for the UK-EU border? The UK government has launched a service for UK businesses to answer your export-related questions by phone or online.

The service covers topics that include the following:

  • Exporting to new markets
  • Required paperwork for selling your goods abroad
  • Rules for a specific country where you want to sell services

We’d like to hear your comments about the service and how we might improve our own services as a result. Share your feedback

To keep track of all Brexit-related communication and alerts regarding your business, go to our Brexit Help page.

Go to the UK government website to learn more about the service.


You have to be kidding me on this. the Government haven’t got a clue how this works and it is the blind leading the blind

The issue is that it doesn’t matter how compliant you are and good intentioned with all of this, there are so many factors that not everything is catered for.

You cannot just send your goods out from the UK to Europe anymore, even if you get yourself VAT registered in all of these countries. Also the Government does not understand how the FBA system works and there are so many holes in it that is creating bad faith amongst everyone.

Business to Business is treated differently than business to customer. You then have the problem that the values of the goods being transported to how and where they are taxed but you have no control over what the customer decides to do. The variation in the processing charges means that it is really hard to try and come up with a uniform system in selling goods into Europe.

Whether you use FBA or sell directly there are still many challenges and no uniform way of doing it and even if you do everything and comply with all the new procedures, it is still common place for the receivers and customs to make errors resulting in loss of goods, overcharges and bad faith to customers

Look at the service covered. Exporting to new markets - It would be nice to try and export to existing markets.
Required paperwork for selling abroad - so many varieties in which the sale has taken place, that effect required paperwork, ie business to customer, direct to customer, fba, indirect and then the value of goods supplied, also whether they are manufactured in the UK and that’s before you even get into product compliance.

Rules for a specific Country where you want to sell services - This Government will only advise you on what applies to the UK, unfortunately they cannot solve problems in the destination Country so good luck with getting advice on that.

I have just signed up with a company who will accept my goods into Europe, another initiative in conjunction with Amazon, we will see where this goes


Well, for a start you could change your unrealistic returns policy that requires a return address in the buyers country, even if the buyer makes their purchase on the UK Amazon (sellers marketplace).

Then you could not issue an instant refund to buyers when they open an A-Z case for int’l sales. Because shipping times have greatly increased due to customs delays.

For me, Amazon have made it impossible to sell into any EU countries now as the risk of loss is far too high. Returns/claims/delays etc, simply not possible anymore for us.


Totally agree @JR_Wristbands. Can you let me know which company you’ve used to accept goods?


Unfortunately I am reluctant to pass on details of companies that I enter into agreements with. I also have not had the full experience of their services.

One thing that I am learning is that you need someone to accept goods and use the Amazon partnered carrier programs. Trying to just blindly send stock to any European fulfillment centre in Europe regardless of what VAT numbers and EORI numbers you have will just not work. I have been trying to work it out for over a year now and have received accountancy bills for nil filings.



Here’s what to do.

  1. Do not ship to GERMANY direct. They charge VAT at the retail price and you need a person to accept the goods there.
  2. Ship to France. You don’t need a person to accept. VAT is on you cost price.
  3. I use DHL .


@fiftyboiledeggs you might want to check, but I believe from 1 January you’ll need a Fiscal Rep in France just like you do in Germany


My first question on this are you referring to FBA or direct to customer from the UK?

Assuming you mean this to be FBA, I have tried Germany and I couldn’t get the goods to release from customs. The VAT aspect is irrelevant if you are registered. You have to pay it at some point so whether you pay this DDP or DAP, this would be reflected in your monthly tax returns. It is the customer that ultimately pays the VAT at the rate of the destination.

As for France they wouldn’t get through customs either and they wanted a receiver. I also used DHL and they were a dead loss and attempted to charge me for VAT on goods sent to Germany after they had been returned back to to me. They also would not clear through Germany but wanted to clear them through the Netherlands and were then asking for Netherlands VAT which would then mean I would not be able to claim this back and would still be liable for German VAT if and when the goods were sold through the FBA centers.

I assume you must be VAT registered in Germany and France so the VAT should be on the sale price and not the cost price. Any VATable costs incurred can be reclaimed against the cost price so you end up paying the difference as you do in the UK.


Are the rules quite different when selling via FBA compared to FBM?

Everyone is talking about goods being held at customs, and having to be VAT registered in the EU countries etc. Isn’t this what the new IOSS schemes are for? As it’s all collected up front and paid to the relevant channels? Or are we talking about sending large shipments of goods to Amazon warehouses in the EU and paying customs fees etc upon arrival?

I myself am FBM and based in the UK. I turned off international sales since last April, but have recently turned on the German marketplace. I’ve also been selling to other EU countries on other platforms. I use click and drop and have been sending using the IOSS services (and including the relevant IOSS numbers on the customs labels).

Is sending my orders with an IOSS service all I need to do? Or do I need to register for VAT in the EU countries amongst other things?


Yes, hugely so.

FBA is almost impossible without fiscal representation and trying to get something linked in with Amazon is very difficult I am just entering into this process.

You don’t have to be VAT registered anywhere unless you hold and supply the goods in the relevant Country. Amazon seller using FBA in the relevant Country need to hold a VAT certificate for where the goods are being stored.

The IOSS scheme only works for business to customer. If you sell to a business customer or the value is over 155 Euros then you have to send the item delivered duty paid and ensure all of the compliance with customs etc. The huge problem is that if your goods are sent using Royal Mail, then they do not have a DDP system so you will have to seek a parcel courier for non IOSS orders. You also cannot pick and choose whether the person ordering is going to come within the threshold and just stick to B2C.

If you only supply IOSS orders in the EU then you don’t need to register for VAT in the EU. In fact you don’t need to register for VAT anywhere else to sell goods to any Country. IOSS was brought in to try and simplify it for small sellers in UK selling to Europe probably in your situation. It doesn’t come without it’s headaches.

I am not sure what system you use to send out but be extremely careful as stated above not every order complies with IOSS and in particular on Amazon, it will state on your order whether it is IOSS and if you use click and drop, this will also detect whether the order qualifies. You must not use or state that your order is IOSS unless the order states it. IE, business buyers and orders over 155 Euros in value will not be applicable.

Personally I would like a feature on Amazon that will only accept orders from the EU that are IOSS, it would make selling FBM to Europe a whole lot easier for small businesses


:heart: Brexit :heart: and sing happy birthday for 20 sec


Thanks for that. Will check.


yes, that fiscal rep rule is whats ending my relationship with the EU. those guys are sharks.


yes we have same issue, we registered for all types of VAT , EIORI ect., please can you advise what company do use in EU

Thank you


I buy and sell to 76 Countries, what the government knows and understands on what you need and what you actually need are two different things, most useless service I have looked at in the last couple of years - a lot of words and no substance

Speak to the couriers who will transport your goods, they will tell you exactly what you need to do


my feedback
your all goods under 25 euros policy that can now be claimed as free gifts was the final straw for me we will only sell international on other sites all of my goods under 25 euros will be removed from your international sites and we will be removing all international sales from the UK as many customers are now starting to do that most likely due to the amount of sellers in my catogory that have already removed all of their under 25 euro goods we have lost over 300 euros in the last 2 weeks with this policy.
PS you are well aware of a severe customs problem particular in Italy but yet you still demand that goods are delivered there in a few days yet another slap in the teeth for sellers here no protections at all from abuse from so many different quarters.


The couriers I have used do not have a clue what to do either. These are the ones I have tried so far.
DHL UK to France and UK to Germany. Both goods returned as nobody to accept the goods into either fulfilment centres. They stated they could do it but failed.
FEDEX - I had a parcel that was going direct and to be received by Amazon and yet they kept it for a month and returned it with no explanation.
HERMES - They just took the parcel for France and have not heard anything from them since. They have had it for 3 months so far.
UPS - We may have a solution but that remains to be seen and it comes at a greater cost.
ROYAL MAIL - They will do the stuff they know they are capable, as long as it is an IOSS order and under 2kg with a value less than 155 Euros then you should be ok. This is not enough to solve the problem.


What is it you are sending - where are you sending it and what is the value of this?

The customs around Europe are either good or terrible, knowing what is what will help me to help you


We have also stopped selling into Europe because of the problems across all platforms! Regarding UPS- yes at a higher rate but usually hassle free, they have the best communication and if there is a problem will contact you. We do also inform the few buyers we do still sell to be aware of hold ups.


I’m sending parcels into Europe mainly small and light centres. The sale value of the goods are around 6 euros each give or take a euro.

Prior to Brexit absolutely no problem at all and also no problem with anything that was sent pre brexit that continued to be sold after Brexit of the remaining stock. I am registered in all European Countries and still use Amazon VAT services. I pay annually now for nil returns. If I wish to dissolve the the agreements then there is a cost to this per Country and you are warned that once this is instigated you cannot go back.

The main reason for my issues with sending the stock is that you need to have a POA who will register and report the goods that are being moved across Europe as you are ultimately still responsible for them before they are sold.

You cannot send to a fulfillment on a DDP basis to Europe. I only know a handful of companies that are able to do it at the moment but that is because they are either based in Europe or send in larger goods by the pallet and some of these pallet/transportation companies will take care of the goods agreement. The issue with me is that my goods are not big and bulky enough and do not have the volume to warrant getting full pallets into Europe so here lies my problem.